When it comes to cooking, many of us look at the physical health benefits of the ingredients we use. That makes sense, but the truth is that many ingredients can have an effect on our mental health. Whether that’s helping with anxiety, stress, memory, or overall outlook, here are some mood boosting ingredients to try in 2020.
Chamomile (Reduce Anxiety)
Chamomile is an herb that contains high amounts of antioxidants and has proven to reduce inflammation and decrease the risk of anxiety. The most effective way of experiencing these anti-anxiety effects is through chamomile tea, which is made by drying the daisy-like flowers of the Asteraceae plant and infusing it into hot water. It’s a great caffeine-free alternative to black or green tea and has an earthy, sweet taste.
Chocolate (Positive Impact on Mood) Chia (Reduce Stress) Almonds (Improve Memory) Sunflower Seeds (Improve Brain Health)
It should probably come as no surprise that chocolate makes you happy. Besides the nostalgia trip of your favorite childhood sweets, chocolate contains a number of potent compounds that boosts endorphins and is a rich source of antioxidants, iron, and magnesium. It is also scientifically proven that chocolate is at its most helpful when it is eaten at a reasonable pace instead of being gobbled all at once.
Containing an enormous amount of nutrients like protein, fiber, calcium, and iron, chia is a mood-boosting ingredient that can be used in numerous fashions. Mixing chia seeds with fruit and yogurt can be a great way to start your day, or they can be used in cereal, oatmeal, or smoothies. They also make a great substitute for eggs in numerous vegan recipes.
Almonds not only make for a great snack or a substitute for dairy milk, they also combat radical damage in the brain. The nutty food contains Vitamin E that has been shown to improve memory and cognition. There are countless ways to use almonds in various entrées, snacks, and, of course, desserts.
Similar to almonds, sunflower seeds are a good source of Vitamin E, along with Vitamin B6 and magnesium. The salty treat might make you think of summers out on the baseball field, but you can make sunflower seed butter and swap it out of recipes with nuts if you have a nut allergy. Other uses include baking them into bread or baked goods, granola, vegetables, or even making sunflower seed bars.
Chia (Reduce Stress)
Almonds (Improve Memory)
Sunflower Seeds (Improve Brain Health)